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In the wake of recent attacks on women, National Organization of Women (NOW) president Marilyn Rice-Bowen wants to fast-track legislation mandating more timely police intervention into domestic disputes. Sounds good. At the first report of violence, a rapid response team will rush in, cart the man off and go their way. And that will achieve precisely what? Unless a man is locked away for life, not even a restraining order can stop him coming back to renew his mischief. Besides, it seems many women prefer to live with abuse rather than end a relationship. Won’t such women be tempted to hide their abuse in the future? I abhor the idea of a man striking a woman. To my knowledge, my father never hit any woman. Instead he taught us seven boys a simple procedure for approaching the opposite sex, to wit: gently place your hand on her knee. While making circular motions with the fingers, recite: “If you are a lady, as I take you to be, you will not laugh nor smile if I tickle you on your knee”. If she did laugh or smile, the implication was she wasn’t a lady and you could move upwards smartly. Actually, I must have missed some other part of the instruction as I ended up getting very few girlfriends, and only one wife, compared to my brothers who got several of each. But we have to go even further back to understand what is happening here. You women have something that we need. Not “need” like a new car or a cell phone, but “need” as in food or water. Only more so. You have the lock, we have the key. You have the carriage, we have the horse. Admittedly, some horses are a bit small for some carriages but we try our best. The bottom line is, you fulfil a need that nothing else can. In the cave man days, so says novelist Jean Auel, a fellow only had to grunt, “assume the position”, and the lady, any lady, even if she was hustling to the office, would oblige so he could “relieve his needs”. Sir Arthur Grimble mentions a delightful custom among the Gilbert and Ellice Islanders. When a wife was pregnant she presented a gift of perfume to a young lady in the village who would then be duty-bound to give the wife’s husband some thing until the baby was born. Amazingly, so-called primitive people recognize this basic function of women yet our females do not. “If I’m not in the mood”, I heard one say to the approval and amusement of her colleagues, “I would tell him ‘go and stick it in a crab hole’.” Trust me, lady, we’ve tried crab holes, sour sops, banana trees, toothpaste boxes, sundry livestocks, Miss Palmer and a lot more only to realize, alas, there is nothing like a dame. Legal luminaries like Hal Gollop and I speak to “reasonable expectation”. When a man gives up his freedom to get married and forsake all others, he reasonably expects to get a little thing on a regular basis. Alas those days are gone forever. Today’s professional women don’t have time for that. As implied in a recent Sanka Price Saturday column, the girlfriend who could never get enough morphs (almost overnight, it seems) into the wife who won’t thing. NOW needs to come clean and explain women’s new position. If marriage or a relationship no longer entitles a man to a little thing, say so. If it is your right to horn a man for commercial or other consideration, say so. Meanwhile, men must take new guard. There is never any justification for violence. And in any case, with the current state of the local dairy industry, it is far cheaper to buy milk than keep a cow. Unless, like me, you really really love a particular cow. On another note, the Yanks are at it again. Having lied about WMDs in Iraq, they now tell us of chemical weapons in Syria. Isn’t it strange that when his forces are winning, Assad would give the United States an excuse to bomb his country? By the way, who dumped 20 million gallons of Agent Orange on Vietnam, killing or maiming 400 000 and causing half million children to be born with birth defects? • Richard Hoad is a farmer andsocial commentator.